Our Mission

For over 80 years, LAJF has been committed to helping young people grow intellectually, ethically, and globally.  We do this by operating Camp Rising Sun, our full-scholarship, summer leadership program for teenagers from more than 25 different countries and 10 U.S. states.  Each summer, 60 young men and 60 young women practice leadership skills in a supportive community of peers and counselors.

The mission of the Louis August Jonas Foundation is to develop in promising young people from around the world a lifelong commitment to compassionate and responsible leadership for the betterment of their communities and the world.

We seek to:

  • Foster an appreciation of both diversity and our common humanity
  • Expand intellectual horizons and heighten artistic sensibilities
  • Develop leadership abilities and self- reliance in a safe environment
  • Offer and demonstrate a philosophy of living to serve society through the pursuit of humanitarian goals

Our History

Camp Rising Sun was founded in 1930 by George E. Jonas, affectionately known as "Freddie." The Camp was established as a boys' program for New Yorkers in Rhinebeck, New York. The goals of the program were to provide a space for boys without the ability to attend a summer camp to build their character, develop intellectually, and form lifelong bonds.

I’m trying to demonstrate that there are a great many young people who don’t have much money or who have none, who are bright, and given encouragement and guidance will fill their potential.
— George E. Jonas

Freddie Jonas

Over the years, Camp grew and evolved. The idea of camper leadership was expanded until a significant part of program was run by campers. International students were accepted, and multicultural exchange soon grew to be an integral part of the program. Through diplomatic crises, wars, and strife, Camp continued to serve as a place to bring people together. The alumni community grew over the years, and Freddie started a foundation named after his father: The Louis August Jonas Foundation. After Freddie's passing in 1978, the Foundation continued to run Camp Rising Sun.

In 1989, Camp Rising Sun Clinton was founded. A camp for girls, based on the same principles of leadership, cultural exchange, and service. Today, LAJF is proud to serve 60 boys and 60 girls each summer, giving them the tools to help and lead their own communities.